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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

24                THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

forms the practical victory of the theories of the time, and under
this guidance the treatment of kinesthesia in particular was
extended.

However, thinking differently from my colleagues, I felt
intuitively that the question of the defectives was definitely one of
pedagogy rather than of medicine; and whilst many spoke in
the medical conferences on the medico-pedagogical method for
the cure and education of mentally defective children, I raised the
question of their moral education at the Educational Conference
in Turin in 1898; and I believe that I touched a very vibrant chord,
for the idea, having passed from the doctors to the elementary
teachers, spread in a flash as being a question of keen interest for
the school.

Indeed I was given by the Minister of Education and by
my teacher, Guido Baccelli, the work of conducting for the
common teachers of the elementary schools in Rome a course of
lectures on the education of mentally defective children. Later
on, there was founded a Pedagogical Institute where gathered the
idiots and mentally defective children who were at that time shelter-
ed in the lunatic asylum in Rome together with adult lunatics,
without any special care being given to them. In this new institu-
tion I proposed to carry out an educative experiment with these
children applying the principles of Seguin. I also admitted many
children who lived abandoned on the streets, and who on account
of their mental deficiency had been eliminated from the public
schools. In order, further, to orientate myself practically I stayed
sozne time at the Salpetriere at Paris where the classes founded
by Seguin himself for defective children were still in existence, and
afterwards I went to London, where some private institutions for
the education of this type of children existed.

Thus my interest in education was born. Nothing in fact
is so facinating as to attend to the mental awakening of these
children, enslaved by their own inferiority; and to witness
this kind of liberation of the soul from extinction through spirit-
ual poverty; to see them arise, reviving and opening up towards